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University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

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What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Attending Prince Georges Community College has being such an incredible experience in my life. Attending Prince Georges Community College has taught me to educate, empower, and embrace other people as they work hard to become someone successful in life. With its very diverse population, PGCC has provided me with an opportunity to work and interact with students and faculty members from different walks of life. PGCC has provided me with skills not only valuable to becoming a dignified lawyer, but also skills that would help me in any situation life presents to me. The exceptional curriculum and extracurricular activities Prince Georges has and offers respectively, has enabled me to be active in school and to chose from a variety of courses and activities. Prince Georges has made paying for college very easy for me. It offers great financial opportunities; so I don’t have to worry about paying for school. Additionally, this various opportunities and lifelong lessons will help me achieve my goals and future career in life. All told, at Prince Georges Community College, I have learnt that, college is not all about education, but also about the people you meet on your journey to being successful in life

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The college experience is about so much more than what happens inside the classroom. What we learn in our classes gives us the necessary tools to perform our tasks outside the classroom, but there is more to it than that. College should give students the opportunity to experience new things, get to know different kinds of people, and learn what the world is like outside of thier hometowns. Involvement in extracurricular organizations helps to develop desire to succeed in students. Many groups that are primarily social in nature also give students the opportunity to network, develop their social skills, and volunteer. Leadership organizations are great for learning how to work in teams to accomplish real tasks, rather than imagined ones assigned in the classroom. They are great motivators because although many times it is hard work to put on events, organize meetings, and perform other tasks related to an organization, there is an intrinsic motivation that comes as a result of passion for the group. It's a responsibility that the student chooses all on his/her own and there is a real sense of fulfillment in that freedom. This is a very important aspect to consider in college choice.

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If I could give my high school self advice about my upcoming college career, I would first warn myself that grades aren't everything. Though I graduated high school as salutatorian, I was surprized to only received need-based financial aid my freshman year. Only after finding mentors on campus did I realize the importance of becoming involved and maintaining leadership positions. My high school self wouldn't believe "real-world" experience beats a 4.0 GPA. I would encourage myself to join the student newspaper before my junior year, because the leadership positions, communication skills, and networking opportunities are invaluable. My high school self also wouldn't realize the importance of connecting with professors who motivate me to succeed. Only after stepping out of my shell junior year did I meet with professors to discuss course material, graduate school options, and recommendation letters. Most importantly, I would advise my high school self not to be afraid to try new things. Hesitation was my biggest enemy during my first few years of college. I only wish I would have met more mentors, published more, attended more meetings, and spoken at more events. I am eager to continue!

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Acquire as much relative information as possible. Don't just rely on the shiny pamphlets of laughing people. In order to find the best college, prospective students should first compile a list of things they absolutely must have in a college, such as wireless internet across the campus or affordable student housing, and a list of things they absolutely can't live with, like large class sizes or inadequate library resources. Check schools against these lists. Look at desired programs of study-is this college strong in these areas? Also, whenever possible, students should audit classes or take a tour of the prospective campus, and ask currently enrolled students about programs, social activities, and dorms. The official tour intentionally shows the campus in the best possible light, so go ask someone who will tell you what it's really going to be like. Estimate expenses, and be realistic. Factor in everything, including quarters for laundry. Decide if the school will be worth attending in terms of finances. Can you get enough financial aid? Are you okay with tons of debt? Apply for every scholarship possible. Overall, remember that this isn't a life or death thing-you can always transfer.

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I recently returned to college after an eighteen year hiatus to have my seven beautiful children. I have enjoyed the rewards of achievement, completed two online courses with A, and disappointment, dropped two courses due to medical issues. I have pushed through the stress and conquered my own defeatism, enabling me to continue my educational journey. OU has been extremely flexible and has encouraged me to reach my dreams of a college degree. My advisors and instructors have spurred me on to explore my potential and to broaden my horizons. I have always enjoyed learning, but had forgotten just how invigorating it could be. I had to tame my voracious appetite for information just to concentrate on my course work. It has brought new light and energy to my life. I have also been able to inspire my children to attend college and gained a new perspective as they approach this same journey. I feel I can better assist them in maneuvering through the maze of college and academic choices ahead. I have become better prepared to advocate for them in the coming years. Overall, my recent college experience has widened my personal perspective and cemented my confidence in myself.

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My college experience gave me a confidence I had never had before. I was raised in a sheltered environment among people who all looked and thought the same, and college introduced me to diverse groups of people, including faculty and other students, who I interacted with and learned from. I stepped outside the life I had at home and figured out what my own personal values and beliefs were, distinct from tose I was raised with, and altered or kept them according to my new knowledge and understanding. This new experience gave me confidence in my own thoughts and ideas. I think that, besides the academic and professional goals that college helps people accomplish, college also exposes students to new people and ideas they may never have encountered at home. However, to truly evaluate and put into practice any new knowledge or ideas encountered in college, students must open themselves up to the possibility of change. A major purpose of college is to challenge students to critically evaluate and possibly change previously held beliefs, and if students wish to use their college experience for all its worth, they must allow themselves to embrace the idea of change.

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If I was asked for advice on finding the right college or university, which I have been several times, I would tell them that college hard and that to stay on top they need to stay focused. I would tell students not to choose a school just because their friends are attending there, but because they are honestly interested in the degree programs and have studied things about the school such as professors, workloads and facilities. I would tell them to choose a school where they are comfortable financially because financial worry will get in the way of their studies and extracurriculars. I would tell parents to support their children wherever they decide to go because the more support a student has the more they will succeed. Also, not to push their children into too many extracurriculars such as fraternities and sororities because sometimes they can distract students from their main focus (school.) Last but not least the students should choose a school where they fit in socially and where they feel comfortable. The less social issues that a student encounters the better. Students need to have fun socially so that they don't over do it academically.

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?Do not be afraid to let go,? I would tell myself. ?You must learn that you cannot keep things together when the others involved surrender the will to continue. Relinquishing the feeling of obligation that you carry with regard to those persons and their harmful decisions will never be seen by any party as disgraceful. I know you are stubborn and ending your involvement in anything you have personally invested in is not customary for you; however, it will be healthier for you if you liberate yourself entirely from people who give up and walk away. Emancipating yourself from these individuals will also save you the distraction of your resentment towards them. Holding onto the past, its relationships and preconceived notions about newcomers, with such blind devotion will make it impossible for you to form true new relationships that are vital to a successful college experience. Your friends back home will not change their opinion of you when you make new friends and form new bonds. Your family will not hold anything against you if you distance yourself from their drama and forge your own way with the values they have instilled in you.?

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First off, I knew I was going to attend The University of Oklahoma when I was five years old. I've been a diehard Sooner fan forever, and the choice was a no-brainer. But for those who are still undecided, let me give you this advice. First, visit every school you are interested in. The best thing a student can do is check out each prospective universities. Find the one that fits you best and has what you are most interested in, whether that be academics, night life, extracurricular activities, greek life, or sporting team, like me. Then, when you choose your favorite, GET INVOLVED! It makes the experience much more enjoyable. Next, parents, listen to your kids and talk with them about their possible school choices. Talk to them about your financial situation. The best gift a parent can give, besides a college education, is child with little to no debt when leaving college. My parents have always been upfront and honest with me when it comes to funding for my education. And finally, don't stress out and have no regrets. These are the most important elements of college. Take risks and enjoy your college experience!

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Choosing a college that is right for you is kind of like choosing just the right donut. You want to choose the one that fits your tastes, leaves you feeling full, and has the promise of possiblity. Finding the right college takes research and hard work but after all the research is done, sometimes you just have to make a donut decision and "follow your gut." Find a place that fits your academic goals and personal needs and take a bite out of the wonderful possibilities that your college has to offer. Apply yourself in the classroom and open your mind to be filled with new ideas and ways of thinking about the world. Seize opportunities to intern, study abroad, serve your community, and become involved on campus-these are the experiences that will add rich flavor your collegiate life. Finally, in the midst of your academic efforts and campus involvement, take the time to indulge-nurture budding friendships and explore your new social scene. Like a donut, your college experience will be gone in a flash, so make the most of your experience and allow it to nourish you, both personally and academically, for your next step in life.

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